You've somehow stumbled upon the page of Dan DeWitt, genre-hopping author of the zombie thriller ORPHEUS, the Norse mythology adventure ODINSONS, and the horror short-story collection UNDERNEATH. There's lots more where those came from, so stick around.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My first impressions of the "Zombies, Run!" app

Before you read my mini-review of the Zombies, Run! app, you should know two things:

1) People seem to think that I'm into zombies, but I have no idea why.
2) I'm carrying about forty extra pounds. Fifty if you want to be an asshole accurate.

So, because the universe thinks I'm tilting the Earth's axis is helpful, it gave me this app.

In a nutshell, Zombies, Run! is part fitness app, part zombie audio drama, and all fun. A player will get the most out of this by running outside, but I gave it a test run on the elliptical. It goes a little something like this:

- Set playlist
- Start app
- Choose mission
- Insert headphones
- Assume the role of Runner 5
- Alternately move your ass to the beat, the instructions coming from Abel Township, and the melodic groans of zombies closing on you to eat your face.

In the initial mission, I was instructed to escape the wreckage of a downed helicopter, then make a side trip to the hospital to pick up supplies in order to earn passage into the Township, and finally make it to the town in one piece. Interspersed with the radio instructions were songs from my playlist (keep your songs short-ish unless you really like running). Along the way, I automatically picked up supplies like batteries, tinned food, and fresh tightie-whities, which I then distributed among Abel Township in a light "Sim City" mode. As a bonus, if you run longer than the mission length your music will continue to play and a couple of pirate radio DJ's will bust in here and there.

Even though I was on the elliptical, I was really engrossed in the narrative, and my pace actually increased when I was being chased by a horde. As a by-product, 30 minutes flew by. That's good, because the immediate goal here is to get back into reasonable shape so I can hit the road/trail, where I assume this app really shines. Outside and with the GPS turned on, not only will the app track your time and distance, but will enable "zombie chases," periods in which you need to increase your pace by approximately 20% for about a minute to escape a horde. If you get "caught" you'll have to drop some of your supplies to get away.

One thing that people may see as a drawback (which I definitely don't) is the price tag. At $7.99, the price is really steep ... for an app. I've seen some people who are outraged over having to spend so much, and I think those people are ridiculous. $8 for an app that makes exercise much more entertaining and tells a riveting story, to boot? BARGAIN. Having spent a half-hour with it, I think it's well worth that small investment, and I hate running.

The ultimate goal is to get ready for the Run For Your Lives race next year.

No idea where this notion that I have a zombie problem comes from.

Anyway, if you're looking for a great way to get motivated again, I wholeheartedly recommend Zombies, Run!

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